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Galileo Launches Global Web Services Platform

Galileo International Launches Web Services Platform Globally Enabling Clients To Build Customized Applications

Travel Industry's First Web Services Solution Leverages Galileo's GDS, Saves Up to 80% in Development Time and Lowers Cost

Parsippany, NJ, USA and Langley, England. May 15, 2003.

Galileo International, a leading global distribution services (GDS) company and subsidiary of Cendant Corp., today announced the availability of its leading Web services technology on a global basis. The first GDS to offer Web services to the travel industry last summer, Galileo has successfully implemented a multitude of travel agency and developer Beta customers, deployed Web services to some of its own travel brands and is now making the services available globally in the North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions to existing and future customers.

Galileo Web Services enables travel agencies, technology development partners and suppliers of air, hotel, car, rail and cruise services to seamlessly integrate Galileo data and functions into their applications via the Internet, thereby reducing development time, effort, maintenance and operating costs.

According to Henry Harteveldt, principal analyst with Forrester Research, Web services' ability to link disparate operating platforms and applications quickly and at a relatively low cost makes them critical technologies for travel. Forrester views Cendant Corp. as travel's most comprehensive Web services provider. Cendant uses Web services to link various business units like Cheap Tickets to content and functionality within the Galileo GDS and beyond.

Galileo has developed its Web services using simple XML standard industry protocols and infrastructure easily accessible via the World Wide Web, eliminating the traditional technology barriers of disparate operating systems and the need for costly user hardware, such as servers, and dedicated telecommunications lines. The product also reduces support and development costs by ending the need for developer knowledge of Galileo-specific GDS commands in order to bring the client's applications online.

To further ease integration, and reduce time to market, Galileo Web Services provides a suite of pre-developed services that address the most commonly used processes, such as booking and modifying reservations. These are:

  • Reservation building -- combining booking functions into one call to the GDS
  • GDS Trip planning -- one-stop fully-integrated fare shopping, sorting of air, car and hotel selections in one call
  • Real-time flight information (FLIFO)
  • Itinerary viewing -- allowing the retrieval of detailed itinerary information in one display
  • Travel codes translation -- providing translation for Galileo's local data, which maps travel-industry names and codes recognized by the GDS

For example, an airport hotel wishing to provide personalized flight departure information to its guests could now do so with Galileo Web Services' FLIFO without the long development times and intimate industry programming knowledge previously required.

Galileo Web Services have undergone extensive Beta testing with key customers in the United States and EMEA, resulting in a number of successful global pilots over the past year. Galileo continues to enroll new customers, and is now making the offering more broadly available to travel agencies, travel suppliers, and software partners around the world.

Galileo customers in Europe are already exploring the opportunities that Web services functionality can bring and the new services that they will be able to offer their own customers as a result. Leigh Brazier, development manager, Virgin Travelstore, said:

"This is a long-awaited, major step forward for the travel industry. We're looking for innovations that will allow us to reduce development time and cost for building applications that will help travellers better manage their travel plans, no matter where they are. Galileo Web Services will enable us to do this quickly and easily in a way that we believe will provide us with a competitive advantage."

Jonathan Siddons, vice president, Product Marketing and Development, for Galileo's EMEA region, said:

"Until now, customers who wanted to develop travel applications would have had to invest a great deal of time, money and programming expertise. With Galileo Web Services, our data is open and accessible to our customers through an interface that will not only increase functionality but reduce project development times by as much as 50-80 percent."

Galileo customers in the U.S. are also realizing the benefits of seamless integration. Tina Finch, chief executive officer, EzRez Software, a software development consultancy to the travel industry, said:

"EzRez was able to deploy Galileo's travel solutions over 80 percent faster than what was possible prior to Web services. This will ultimately translate to quicker implementation, additional sales opportunities, and reduced resource requirements."

In addition to providing services to third parties, Cendant has applied Galileo Web Services to many of its own travel brands. For example, Galileo Web Services currently benefits Cheap Tickets and facilitates hotel availability requests for, both owned by Galileo's parent company Cendant. Additionally, Galileo Web Services have been leveraged to provide the infrastructure for JumpStart, a recently launched collaborative effort among Cendant companies; Galileo, TRUST and WizCom. JumpStart is designed to provide online agencies or Internet Distribution Sites (IDS) and Tour Operators with access through one connection to a comprehensive distribution network of travel inventory.

Galileo Web Services are built on the industry-standard Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) which provides a way for applications to communicate over the Internet, independent of platform and using structured XML (Extensible Markup Language) data from Galileo's systems.

Because Galileo Web Services adheres to cross-platform Web services standards, GWS client applications can be deployed in any environment that supports HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), including Windows(R), UNIX and LINUX, without requiring bridges or specialized interfaces. In addition, a wide variety of languages and development developer toolkits can be used to design and deploy client applications for Galileo Web Services.

See "How Galileo Web Services Work"

Web services is the latest evolution of Galileo's 360(degree) Developer Tools solution.

Galileo 360(degree) Developer Tools

With a Web services offering, Galileo International now offers a wider choice of XML-based developer tools for its client base than any other GDS. Galileo has continued to invest in XML-based API (Application Programming Interface) solutions since 2000, which saw the release of an install version XML Select API solution. Subsequently, the Web services API suite of services was built on the same XML structures, allowing a developer an easy transition to the Web services version of the XML Select API. Galileo's desktop XML API also uses the same XML structures, allowing re-usage of code and skills for customers developing client and internal desktop solutions.

The investment in a Web services architecture also paves the way for Galileo to combine existing applications, components and business logic as shared services in a service orientated architecture, further adding value to it's offering while reducing overall costs by re-using the same service for multiple solutions and channels.

About Galileo International

Galileo International is a global technology leader. Its core business is providing electronic global distribution services for the travel industry through its computerized reservation systems, leading-edge products and innovative Internet-based solutions. Galileo is a value-added distributor of travel inventory dedicated to supporting its travel supplier, agency and corporate customers and, through them, expanding traveler choice. A subsidiary of Cendant Corporation, Galileo is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, U.S.A., and has offices worldwide. Visit

About Cendant Travel Distribution Services Division

Cendant's Travel Distribution Services Division is one of the world's largest and most geographically diverse collections of travel distribution businesses. The division, employing some 5,000 people in more than 110 countries, includes: Galileo, a leading global distribution system (GDS) serving more than 47,000 travel agencies and over 51,000 hotels; hotel distribution and services businesses (Trust, THOR, WizCom); leading travel agencies, including Cheap Tickets and; an airline market intelligence company; and Highwire, a corporate travel booking company.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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